kowtow Review: Black Cotton Romper

kowtow is an ethical brand that I only know about because of Grechen. They’re a New Zealand brand that takes their sustainability and ethical manufacturing seriously. They use fair trade organic cotton or tencel, use harm-free dyes, and are also working on circularity with a take back program. In many ways, you can’t get a more ethical brand. But I wouldn’t love them if they’re clothes were also not modern and chic. If Eileen Fisher and COS had a baby, it would be kowtow. The only drawback to them is that their shipping and returns are coming from New Zealand so it’s not so easy for us in the US (though shipping is free when you spend over $200). And of course the price point is not cheap (though it shouldn’t be when they’re doing all these things right). But because of these last two points, I hadn’t tried kowtow even though they were on my radar for quite awhile.

Kowtow Clothing Review

{Wearing: kowtow Romper, Chanel ballet flats (from TRR), thrifted hat}

But I noticed that the RealReal (TRR) carried quite a few items from kowtow, and usually a lot of the same items (which makes me think they’re getting it from a boutique that is trying to offload items and not from individual sellers). Also since this was in “pristine condition”, it was basically new. So when I got some TRR credit I decided to give them a shot (even though TRR’s own shipping and return policy aren’t great). But the price point of the items can’t be beat. I got this romper for a total of $52 (the 20% discount included)! Since their dresses go for about $200-$300 new, this is quite a steal.

Kowtow Clothing Review

{Wearing: kowtow Romper, Everlane Boss Mules (reviewed here), Nano Celine Belt Bag (reviewed here)}

As for sizing, I’m wearing a small here and it’s the perfect size. It’s pretty slim on top so if you’re bigger in the chest you might need to consider sizing up, depending on the garment. But since this romper is belted at the waist, it’s really forgiving around the midsection. Looking at their site, I do notice that a lot of their items are made for tall people so if you’re on the shorter side like myself, some of their stuff might not work out so well. Or you’ll have to do some hemming.

Their label reads designed in New Zealand and made ethically in India from organic cotton. The cotton poplin fabric is midweight and smooth. It feels like something Cuyana would use. And the construction is flawless. The bottom part of the romper has hidden pleats on the sides to give you a bit more volume on the bottom overall without adding volume around the waist. The collar at the neckline is slim and minimal. It is in the details of a garment like this that you know that the design and production are top-notch.

So if you’re looking for a simple, modern and ethically-made quality item I can’t recommend kowtow enough. And even more so if you’re tall. As for me, I’ll still be stalking TRR for kowtow items to add to my closet!

Weekend Update/Ramblings

Hi y’all, a personal ramblings post here today. July was a brutal month for me (#mercuryretrograde?) with an AC condensation line leak that ended up leaking into our bathroom (well first it leaked into our closet, then the bathroom). This actually had been going on for years (before we purchased the apartment) because there was mold under the flooring and on the drywall behind the mirror. Glad we got it all removed but it’s been quite a trial. Now we have to rebuild our bathroom and on a budget since our home insurance deductible is so high it doesn’t make sense to file a claim. Oh and now that we’re using our second bathroom consistently for the first time, there’s a leak at the tub faucet. Aaaand the kitchen sink disposal was leaking too (luckily my husband has decided to tackle these things with a little help from YouTube so we’re not paying for these smaller fixes).

On top of that my fibroids have grown very large again so I look like I’m back in my second trimester of pregnancy (I could probably continue posts about pregnancy outfits at this point lol). I suspect it’s all the hormones now that I’ve stopped breastfeeding (yep I’ve given up—I tried my best but when I only produce a third of her needed intake despite all the work and grief, I decided it just wasn’t worth my mental health). Anyway it looks like a hysterectomy is pretty evident and it’s just a matter of when. I have a whole slew of thoughts and emotions about that but I’m not quite ready to unpack them here.

And lastly I’ve been thinking more about my dad (who passed away in December). Maybe it’s because we finally booked our flights back home to Hawaii and now I have to face that 1) he won’t be there (this will be my first time back since he passed) and 2) I have to clean-up and donate/throwaway most of his belongings at his apartment. I’ve read several articles about grief cleaning to prepare myself. I know the stuff does not make the man so I only plan to keep a couple of his things (especially since it’ll have to fit into a suitcase to bring back to Cali). But we’ll see how that goes.

Sorry if that was all a bit heavy, but August is a new month and I’m ready to face my challenges head on!

Everlane Review: The Cotton Weave Collarless Shirtdress and Picnic Dress

I love Everlane’s Cotton Collarless Belted Shirtdress from 2 years ago (reviewed here). It’s one of my most favorite dresses from Everlane, but haven’t worn it lately due to some added baby weight (which makes the dress come up quite short when belted) So I was super excited to see a new version of their collarless shirtdress for 2019 in a new cotton weave fabric and with longer sleeves! Since I wasn’t offered any free items from Everlane in June (probably because I haven’t been keeping up with timely reviews lol) I purchased this myself with some referral credit (thank you to all those who supported me by using my referral link). I actually prefer being able to review items this way since I feel it makes the review a tad more objective, plus I tend to love the items I purchase myself more (like the Everlane mini form bag and the cotton linen v-neck). Oh, and since I wanted the free shipping, I decided to try out Everlane’s Cotton Weave Picnic Dress as well.

So what did I think of Everlane’s new summer dresses?

I actually love both styles and ended up keeping both!

The Cotton Weave Collarless Shirt Dress

First of all, I really love the new cotton weave fabric that they’re using for this year’s collarless shirt dress. It’s super soft and yet feels durable. The cotton weave has a texture that’s almost like a lightweight corduroy. I think this fabric is less prone to wrinkles than the cotton poplin they used for their first collarless dress. The sizing is similar to their old dress though this year’s version is a tiny bit longer (I got a size 4). But it’s still a tad short on me when I raise my arms (see pic) and I’m 5’4” (and even if you get a larger size, the length only increases marginally).

everlane review collarless shirtdress
everlane review cotton weave

So if you’re quite a bit taller, this dress might be too short for comfort. At first I was thinking of returning the dress because of this, but I decided to keep it because 1) I don’t know if there would be many situations where I need to raise my arms in this dress (and if there is, I’ll just be careful) but also because 2) I saw this ad campaign for Hackwith Design House’s button-up jacket dress.

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The Everlane dress looks similar enough and since I didn’t want to spend $205, I decided to try this collarless shirtdress as both a dress and a duster. And I like it. I plan to try more combos of this dress as a duster, but I like the versatility of having it work as both a dress and a lightweight duster. Oh and they added a belt loop to this year’s dress which is great because I lost the belt of my 2017 collarless shirtdress since there was no belt loop. A small but convenient improvement.

everlane review collarless shirtdress

{Wearing: Only Child Alta Top (reviewed here), Only Child Cove Pants (reviewed here), Everlane V sling back (reviewed here), Celine Soft Cube Bag (reviewed here)}

The Cotton Weave Picnic Dress

I originally ordered this cotton weave picnic dress with the intention of trying it on, disliking it, and then returning it. And tbh ordered it as my second item so I could get free shipping. But when I tried it on, I didn’t hate it. I was a little iffy about it, but with the encouragement of those on my Insta stories, I decided to keep it. I like the longer midi length of this on me. At first I thought it might be too long, but I think it’s fine (and looks great especially with some low heels like the Everlane Day Heels I’m wearing).

Everlane Review Picnic Dress
Everlane Review Picnic Dress

I ordered this in a size 6 because I’ve noticed with Everlane’s “picnic” style tops and dresses, the chest circumference is a bit tight on me in my normal Everlane size of 4. At size 6, it’s just right so there’s no pinching of the underarm fat. Also the backside is elastic so that makes the chest area slightly more forgiving and it makes it easier to put on/take off this dress. The buttons that run along the front are fake and you can’t actually button/unbutton this dress. That makes this dress very breastfeeding UN-friendly but at the same time, you won’t have any gaping holes between the buttons. There’s a side zip to help make putting on/taking off this dress easier. I do like that this dress is slightly form fitting so that it looks great even without the tie. I look forward to wearing this dress more once I stop breastfeeding. Also I plan to wear this dress with a white shirt underneath if the weather is on the cool side.

So I had only planned on keeping one dress (the collarless shirtdress) when I bought them, and then planned on keeping just the picnic dress when I tried them on. But ended up keeping both to work with my wardrobe lol. Hope you see these dresses in heavy rotation as the summer wears on!

Weekend Ramblings: My Current At-Home Facial Regimen

Last weekend I referenced that article about making do so I decided to take that lesson to heart and make do with some of the beauty items I already have. So I dusted off my old microcurrent facial tool (which I was going to write a post about and then got pregnant so I stopped using it) along with the Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment (which I also had to stop for pregnancy) and gave myself a mini facial. And you know what, my skin looks fan-f*-tastic. And voila I now have a new at-home spa facial regimen that I can’t wait to do again and again.

So the microcurrent tool that I have is a cheaper version of the NuFace Facial Toning Tool that I purchased off of Amazon. It’s so old that it’s no longer available, but I think the NuFace tool should work just as well (and in fact NuFace is FDA approved while the cheap China knock-off from Amazon is questionable so if I were to purchase all over again I probably would have gone with Nuface, but I’m going to “make do” and use the one I have). I was actually using this pretty consistently before I got pregnant and I could definitely see a difference. I originally purchased it because I could see some sagginess under my chin and at my neck (the beginnings of a jowl if I were to be honest). And after some research, learned that microcurrent facial toning tools help firm up the skin area by toning the muscle underneath. And it works! But you have to do it consistently and possibly forever lol (or just don’t gain weight/get pregnant and the results might last longer). As soon as I stopped and gained weight, it all came sagging back down. Also if you go for the NuFace tool and then run out of their gel, just use an electrode gel like this one from Amazon (it’s waaaay cheaper and does the same thing as the fancy stuff from NuFace). I used this YouTube tutorial to figure out how to use the microcurrent tool and it really does feel like you’ve just had a spa treatment done.

Then I decided to take it a step further by exfoliating my skin with the Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment. When I originally purchased this I tried leaving it on my face and my skin burned like a mofo. So instead I use it like a face mask, leaving it on for about 5 minutes. And I have to say there’s some tingling before I wash it off, and my skin looks a tad red for the rest of the night. But the next morning, my skin looks and feels amazing. It’s super smooth and soft. I don’t know for sure if I would buy this again since it’s such a strong acid treatment, but I know that I will definitely be buying some kind of acid exfoliation treatment because it really does help keep my skin looking great.

After washing that off, I use my favorite toner and then moisturize with the Augustinus Bader Rich Cream (reviewed here). So yay for making do and using up what you already have (but that doesn’t mean I won’t add the new tools I purchased from the Nordstrom sale to my facial and see where that leads my skin).